MOUNTAIN AREA — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) is alerting customers to be aware of ongoing scam phone calls with criminals threatening to shut off power if a payment is not made. There reportedly have been double the number of scam attempts, in some areas, compared to this time last year.
PG&E’s Corporate Security department has received several reports in the past few weeks regarding scammers requesting payment on past due utility bills immediately with a cash card.
In the past, scammers demanded payment be made using a Green Dot card or Money Pack but recently they’ve been requesting payment with a gift card.
Another new trend PG&E reports: scams are becoming more detailed. Scammers include specific names of customers, and in some cases, guessing general dollar amounts owed. They are also disguising their true phone numbers with a caller ID that says “PG&E” or “Pacific Gas & Electric.”
Other scam phone call tactics include:
- Notifying residents that they are eligible for a federal tax refund related to their utility bill;
- Trying to sell services related to solar evaluation; and
- Claiming to represent a PG&E initiative to sell a product in order to gain access to their home.
PG&E offers the following tips to help protect customers from all types of potential scams:
- PG&E’s Credit Department will not ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone. Anyone who has received such a phone call and provided credit card or checking account information should report it immediately to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.
- Customers with concerns about the legitimacy of a call about a past due bill, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
- Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.
If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.
PG&E says it takes security seriously and will actively work with law enforcement to help stop any scam victimizing customers.
Anyone who has received such a call can report it immediately by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 or visit www.pge.com/scams.